Pottsville, Schuylkill County PA: Do you have chronic low back pain? Were you told that you have weak back muscles?
How do you know if that statement is true?
Has the strength of your back muscles ever been tested?
Pointed questions, almost no one can answer these questions affirmatively.
Would you like to know what 629 chronic low back suffers found out about the strength of their back muscles and the difference it made in their suffering?
In this study, of 895 chronic low back pain suffers were chosen to participate in a testing and treatment program. Over 100 never started and others dropped out for a variety of reasons. 629 were still in the program and completed the study at the end of one year. Our focus will be on them.
The testing and exercises were performed on MedX lumbar extension rehabilitation equipment. MedX equipment been shown to be valid and reliable. We have this testing and exercise equipment at our office in Pottsville. In fact, we have to only machine in the area.
The Chronic Low Back Pain Sufferers Were Previous Multiple Treatment Failures
These patients were tough cases!
- Average duration of back and/or leg complaints was 26 months (range 3 months to 30 years).
- The patients on average had seen three previous providers.
- 14% had previous surgery for the complaint.
- The patients had tried an average of 6 different types of treatments.
- 89% had already failed a “supervised exercise program”.
- 47% tried and failed chiropractic.
- The patients low back extensor strength was about 40% to 45% weaker than established norms.
- Range of motion was about 18 degrees less than normal.
The treatment involved progressive, resistive exercises of the isolated lumbar spine on the MedX lumbar extension machine. The patients also did aerobic exercise and strength training of other muscles at each visit.
Treatment was discontinued when either of the following occurred:
- The patient was pain-free or nearly pain-free and objective functional levels were at or near normal.
- The patient was no longer making objective gains in spinal function.
- The patient refused to cooperate or give a good effort.
The average number of treatment required to complete the program was 18 but ranged between 4 and 35.
A home exercise program was instituted when treatment goals were reached.
Static and dynamic strength and range of motion all increased significantly to normal or near normal levels.
- 64% reported a substantial decrease in low back pain; in some cases, it was dramatic.
- 12% reported no change and 3% reported worse.
- Patients with leg pain 62% reported a substantial improvement.
- 71% reported a substantial improvement in perceived ability to perform the activities of daily living.
- The diagnosis did not significantly affect results.
- Psychosocial factors did affect the results, however many patients who originally showed signs of symptom exaggeration no longer showed those signs at the end.
- 94% with initial treatment results of good to excellent maintained their improvement.
- Compliance with the home exercise was less than 50%.
- 70% of patients who completed the program obtained substantial relief for at least 1-year vs. 29% of the control group.
The Conclusions of the Study
- The presence or absence of leg pain did not affect the results.
- The failure of a supervised exercise program does not preclude a patient from a specific lumbar exercise program. In fact, this study suggests that much of the exercise done without complete pelvic stabilization is worthless for these type of patients. This includes the use of Nautilus and Cybex exercise equipment, equipment found in a gym.
- Specific isolated lumbar extension exercises are effective for chronic low back pain regardless of the underlying condition.
- Many patients, by their own report, were able to avoid surgery.
- This study supports the use of specific intensive exercise for chronic back pain patients on the MedX lumbar extension machine.
If you are a chronic low back pain sufferer, do not give up hope. Odds are you may not have to “live with it”. Dr. Novatnak is also a Certified Exercise Specialist recognized by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. He is also a Preferred Provider for the Laser Spine Institute.
These results are typical of the results we have seen in our office, both for chronic back and neck pain. We also have a MedX cervical extension machine for neck problems. Our office is the only facility that has the MedX equipment in eastern Pennsylvania outside of York, Lancaster, and Philadelphia.
If you’re ready to start living again, give us a call.
Doctors’ Choice Physical Medicine and Rehab
Dr. David Novatnak
Glee Pascual, Physical Therapist
Pottsville, Schuylkill, PA
If you would like to read the entire article, it is available at: http://medxonline.com/downloads/articles/focusonthespine.pdf